NETGEAR Unveils Blazing-Fast Tri-Band Nighthawk X8 AC3500 Smart WiFi Router With Active Antenna Technology

On the lookout for a router with obscene specs? With its AC5300 Nighthawk X8, NETGEAR has got you covered. Seriously - most people might not get as excited about a piece of networking equipment as they do the latest graphics card, but this is one router that deserves some close attention.

Last month, ASUS launched its RT-AC5300 router, one similar in specs to NETGEAR's latest. But, there is one major difference: ASUS' router has a wall of antennas; 8 in all. NETGEAR's doesn't. Instead, the Nighthawk X8 has just 4 external antennas. Does that mean that ASUS' implementation is more for show? It's hard to say, but NETGEAR's "Active Antenna" technology certainly gives some explanation to things.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 Router

While other wireless routers place the Wi-Fi amplifiers on the motherboard, NETGEAR has put them on top of the antennas themselves. This better exposes them to the outside and makes it easier for devices to achieve a solid signal with the router. This should prove very useful for those who deal with their mobile devices becoming disconnected in certain areas of their house.

There's a lot more that makes the Nighthawk X8 drool-worthy than just its active antennas, though. One thing that stands out to me is the fact that it has not four, but six gigabit Ethernet ports, two of which can be used for aggregation. There's also a couple of USB ports in case you want to easily share storage across your network.

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Under the hood of this beast is a 1.4GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. As a tri-band AC5300 router, this one includes a 1Gbps band for legacy devices, and two 2.15Gbps bands; one for "new" devices, and the other for "newest" that take full advantage of the latest spec. It also supports MU-MIMO, multi-user data streaming, although it will not be activated until a firmware update is released later this year.

Given all that it offers, you'll not likely be surprised that this router carries a hefty price tag. Available soon, the Nighthawk X8 can be had for $399.99.